Traditional broadcasters could soon be facing a new competitor as YouTube prepares to launch around 100 channels of professionally made programming.
Online channels will be launched in partnership with celebrities, media organisations and existing programme-makers.
Actors such as Ashton Kutcher and Rainn Wilson, star of the US version of The Office, are likely to launch channels through their own production companies, while Madonna is set to link up with dance channel DanceOn.
Antony Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise, rapper Jay-Z, former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk are among others involved.
Production company Lionsgate – the creator of Mad Men and Nurse Jackie – is launching a fitness channel, while X Factor co-producer FremantleMedia will dedicate theirs to pets and animals.
Satirical news website The Onion, professional wrestling organisation the WWE and Hearst, who publish Cosmopolitan magazine, are among the media and entertainment organisations taking part.
YouTube owners Google are thought to be pumping around $100 million into the project, with around $5 million expected to go to each channel to help with initial production, in lieu of the advertising revenue they are expected to generate.
Most of the channels currently signed up to the deal will launch next year. They are expected to produce a total of around 25 hours of new programming each day.
YouTube’s global head of content partnerships, Robert Kyncl, said: “Today, the web is bringing us entertainment from an even wider range of talented producers, and many of the defining channels of the next generation are being born, and watched, on YouTube.
“For advertisers, these channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global consumers.”
Google’s most recent move in the online viewing arena saw it release a new version of Google TV featuring a TV and Movies app that will expand its programme search to include satellite and cable providers and sites such as Amazon and Netflix.